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Love and Marriage and CF

Happy Valentines’ Day! Today is a special day to celebrate love in its many forms, and we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate some love stories in our community. We turned the tables for this community-generated blog post, and asked the spouses of our contributors to weigh in on their partner, their relationship, and CF:

“My husband, Alex, is the love of my life. The fact that Alex lives with CF makes him the vulnerable, honest, strong, tenacious man that I love. Alex takes excellent care of his body – he eats well, exercises daily, follows a strict medication regimen, and tries his best to get the rest his body needs. We should all take such good care of our bodies! If we are going to grow old together, then Alex needs to take the time to do these things and I have to respect and enable this care. We both are ready to make sacrifices that will help keep his body as healthy as possible. It’s okay with me if we can’t make it to a celebration or out to the movies or dinner if it means taking care of Alex and not putting him at risk. As with any relationship, I think it is important to communicate, establish priorities and love what you have. Although we may not be at all the parties and we may not be travelling the globe, Alex makes me the luckiest girl in the world. – Susan McCombes, wife to Alex McCombes

“When the person that makes your life whole is battling something that tries to slowly take pieces of their life away, you make sure to fill those tiny voids with your presence and love. My wife has never amended her life because of CF. She has always lived the best version of herself and has accomplished remarkable things, not in spite of CF, but in defiance of it. CF has not been the overriding arc of Stephanie’s life. It is what we have as a family. We work together to make sure that we do those things necessary to keep our family healthy. Managing the symptoms associated with CF is a team effort. My role as her husband is to do my part to make sure that she is always able to see how extraordinary she is. She is an artist, designer, wife and mother. My responsibility is to keep stoking Stephanie’s inextinguishable spirit even when it seems as though the challenges associated with CF are trying to dim the light.” – Demetrios Stavros, husband to Stephanie Stavros

“My wife Brenda is my best friend, lover and companion. She also happens to have cystic fibrosis (CF). I knew this when we first started dating and realized that if we were going to build a life together, CF would be a big part of it. We have now been married for over 20 years. When we took our wedding vows, I promised to be there in sickness and in health. Well, we have had more sickness than the average couple has (daily physiotherapy, nebulizer treatments, hospital stays, mounds of medication, doctors’ appointments, major surgical procedures, you name it!). However, this is what I signed up for because I love my wife and would do anything for her. Brenda is a very strong -willed woman who amazes me with the health challenges she has overcome. My one wish in life is to be happy and for us to grow old together. Brenda has already far exceeded her life expectancy and with her strength and will to live, I expect she may even outlive me!” – John Ivey, husband to Brenda Chambers-Ivey

“I believe our marriage is like any other. Every marriage has ups and downs. We take vacations together, we work and we have raised our daughter together. The difference is that Rob’s health is always in the back of my mind. I do everything I can to make sure he takes care of himself and that we make healthy choices. I am always conscientious of Rob’s health. Sometimes I get concerned he is not taking care of himself or over-doing it and that he will get sick because of it. I make sure our house and the places we go are clean and disinfected so he doesn’t catch germs. When Rob is in the hospital, I make sure I am free to be with him for morning meetings with the doctors so I have a clear understanding of what is going on and keep the team informed of Rob’s medical history.” – Donna Burtch, wife to Rob Burtch

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